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The future of contracting

April 12, 2012

Today I was at the AribaLive event in Las Vegas where I participated in a panel discussion about IACCM’s research into the future of contracting. Joining me on the panel were Bill Huber, a partner at ISG (formerly TPI) and Michel Gahard, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft.

Panel moderator Dan Ashton, of Ariba, led with a question about whether the future would be most driven by process, skills or tools. The panel was united in the view that all three would be significant in effecting the change and n=moving contracting to a more strategic discipline. Our research has indicated that contracting must evolve into being a process, rather than a series of relatively disjointed activities that do not serve the business well.

The report of our studies will shortly be available through the IACCM or the Ariba websites. What I found especially interesting about today’s session was the level of interest and the extent of audience participation. Traditionally, contract management sessions at the Ariba events have drawn a respectable audience, but they have not exactly been animated. Today, it was standing room only and people were – quite literally – being turned away at the door. In addition, the audience was animated and highly engaged. They clearly believe that things are changing and that contracting is indeed becoming a discipline of real significance to their business.

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